Since the world's most recent pandemic outbreak, more people are working from home. Working in office buildings, we didn't think twice about the types of windows and their impact on our mental health.
It turns out, however, that types of window glass and light exposure can affect your mental health and depression in quite a significant way. It is time we learn more about this phenomenon.
The Science Behind Windows and Their Impact on Mental Health
In the past ten years, architectural and window styling has changed dramatically. Scientists found a unique sensory deprivation caused by the lack of windows and poorly positioned windows.
Neuroscientist Colin Ellard found that people exposed to windows and light had the highest level of emotional excitement. He discovered that windows certainly impact your mental health and help relieve depression.
Many of us have already heard of light therapy. Light therapy is proven to treat various clinical disorders like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and sleep disorders, which are often contributors to depression.
Evidence proves light or view from windows contribute to the prevention and treatment of mental health problems. Larger windows and glass walls permit more light, which impacts your brain chemistry and alters your emotional health.
Windows and skylights prevent and reduce stress and the feeling of enclosure, providing opportunities for proper restoration. They also regulate circadian rhythms helping you get better rest which in turn improves your mental health.
Transparent, Translucent, and Opaque Window Glass Types
Before jumping right into the answer, we need to know the difference between these three types of window glass. Their differences are extremely important to understand when it comes to how they affect mental health and depression.
Transparent windows are the clearest glass type. These types of windows are used in almost all newly built homes. They are easy to see out of and provide you with a clear image of the outside.
Translucent window types have a thin film or texture that obstructs a clear image of the outside. Some examples of translucent windows are:
- Frosted glass
- Textured glass
- Smoked glass
- Color tinted glass
- Glass bricks
- Stained glass or leadlight
- Satin glass
- Glass film
- Switchable privacy glass
People often use translucent window types for energy efficiency, climate control, glare reduction, privacy, and security.
These types of windows block all light and entirely obstruct your view from outside. Opaque window types are commonly found in bathrooms, windows that face busy streets, and in bedrooms and entryway doors.
Reflective glass is a perfect example of this type of window. Mirror windows let you see out of them, but they block light from getting in. Switchable privacy glass can also fit into the opaque window category when on the opaque panel setting.
You may be wondering why people use opaque windows in the first place. The main reasons are for curb appeal, function, and privacy.
Which Window Glass Type is Best for Your Mental Health?
Clear transparent window types are by far the best window type to help with depression. Transparent windows allow the most light into your home and they remind you that you aren't trapped in a dark place away from all living things.
Your second-best window type option for mental health is translucent glass windows. These types of windows provide natural light and privacy, while still giving you the desired mental health benefits.
Window Shapes and Their Effects on Mental Health
Psychology studies have proven how different shapes impact our minds and emotions. Here is a list of types of window shapes and how they make you feel:
Square and rectangular-shaped windows
Square and rectangular windows give you a sense of security, making you feel safe and contained. These shapes of windows are best for people who suffer from paranoia and worry frequently about their safety.
Triangle windows represent stability and balance. The shape of a triangle creates energy and a sense of dynamic that pushes motion and direction throughout your space.
What is extremely intriguing is how the direction of a triangle window can influence your mind. Those of you dealing with feelings of the past may want to consider a triangle window that faces or points to the right.
Triangle-shaped windows facing right, or pointed to the right, indicates forward progression. Left pointing or left-facing triangle-shaped windows represent a sense of backtracking or dwelling in the past.
Circle and oval-shaped windows
Circle-shaped windows feel milder and softer, giving you a sense of unity and protection. These shapes are friendlier and feel more inviting.
Circles give people a sense of ease. People with anxiety may want to consider adding a circular or oval-shaped window in their home.
Which Window Shape is Best for Your Mental Health?
Although there hasn't been a specific study done on window shapes, we've formulated the answer to this question based on the psychological impact studies on shapes in general.
The best window shape is dependent on your mental health issue. If your mental health is declining because you are worried about your safety and security, then choose a square or rectangular-shaped window.
With depression, we often feel we are stuck in the past and can't move forward in our lives. If this sounds like you, consider a triangle window that faces or points to the right -- forward progression is what you're seeking.
Oval and circular-shaped windows should strongly be considered by someone dealing with anxiety. The soft edges bring about a peaceful mind.
Combining Windows and Nature to Fight Depression
Windows and nature are two peas in a pod. If you can add a natural element just outside your window, it will provide you with an increased psychological benefit.
Your goal should be an unobstructed view of nature through large windows or glass walls. The closer nature is to you, the better off you are.
If you can't afford a window remodel, place a house plant inside your house next to your window. Another option is adding nature pictures between or beside your windows.
Intriguingly, modifying natural landscapes and windows into our homes and businesses is an essential part of developing a positive attachment to that space. Ultimately, mixing nature, natural light, and large windows helps with depression.
Quick Tips on Window Types & Your Mental Health and Depression
Here are some final tips of guidance to implement in your home and office settings for a positive impact on your mental health and depression symptoms:
Transparent window types are the best for your mental health, with translucent window types trailing close behind.
If you must use curtains or blinds, make it a habit to open them up at a specific time of day.
The larger and more spacious the window size, the improved signs on mental health.
Organized from most important to least important regarding windows in specific rooms are the living room, office, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
Whichever room you spend the most time in, should be the room with the largest, transparent window types.
Add skylights to living rooms, dining rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
Preferably, you want a window you can easily see out from sitting or standing from farther away.
Choose windows that are wider than they are tall.
Select window shapes based on your mental health predicament.
If your budget allows it, opt for floor-to-ceiling windows or window walls.